The new guy in town

Written by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Terrell

Master Chief at Boston light

BOSTON – Chief Petty Officer Shawn Brule, the officer in charge of Aids to Navigation Team Boston (right), tells Master Chief Petty Officer David Rochefort, the First Coast Guard District’s new command master chief (left), how the mechanics of Boston Light work during a tour of the light, Monday, June 13, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Terrell.

 

“Map it out … know what you want to do,” said the 1st Coast Guard District’s new command master chief, Master Chief Petty Officer David Rochefort, during his first visit to Aids to Navigation Team Boston in June.

Since arriving in June, Rochefort has hit the ground running. He’s been visiting units around the district, getting to know the crews, listening to their concerns, and making sure they are getting the most out of their experience with the Coast Guard.

One of Rochefort’s biggest priorities is to stress how important it is for Coast Guardsmen to take care of themselves, not just their job. This involves helping crews ensure their families are cared for in the event of an emergency.

“Out of all my unit visits, on average, only about 10 percent of members have wills,” said Rochefort. “That’s a scary statistic. Life is short and you don’t know what tomorrow will bring.”

Master Chief with the Aids to Navigation Team

BOSTON - Master Chief Petty Officer David Rochefort, the First Coast Guard District’s new command master chief (left), shares a laugh with Aids to Navigation Team members Petty Officer 3rd Class Patrick Kamarah (center) and Chief Petty Officer Shawn Brule before departing for a boat ride to Boston Light, Monday, June 13, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Terrell.

Rochefort also encourages members to take advantage of advanced education opportunities (tuition assistance is an example) and be financially responsible in a difficult economy by reducing their debt and saving for a rainy day. When these important issues are managed well, Coast Guardsmen have the ability to look long-term at their career goals. Rochefort has some advice for that field as well.

With nearly 24 years of Coast Guard service, Rochefort attributes his success to his individual development plan. An IDP lets supervisors know what personal, financial and professional goals their members have.

When Rochefort was a senior chief petty officer, he used his IDP to voice his desires to his supervisor, who was fully supportive.

“I wouldn’t be a master chief today if not for my IDP,” he said.

Along with his priorities, Rochefort’s big on recognizing members for their hard work and wants to hear what’s going on with the unit’s members.

He calls it “deck plate leadership.”

“My job is to be out and about, not in my office,” Rochefort said. “I want to hear what they have to say.”

Recently he’s been involved with helping members who have transferred with problems they’ve had moving their household goods.

What started out as conversations with a handful of members is now part of a plan to address a larger issue which has been plaguing many Coast Guardsmen for the past couple years.

A talk with the Master Chief

BOSTON – Master Chief Petty Officer David Rochefort, the First Coast Guard District’s new command master chief (right), talks with the crew of Aids to Navigation Team Boston during his first unit visit, Monday, June 13, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Connie Terrell.

“My goal is to see where I can help,” Rochefort said. “There’s always room for improvements.”

Whether it’s making sure personnel have the right resources to do the job or dealing with housing or financial issues, Master Chief wants to be the person crews can come to and depend on.